1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Not Rated.
St. Bernardus Abt 12St. Bernardus Abt 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,371 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,371
Reviews: 2,498
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.4%
Wants: 421
Gots: 1,100 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV visit their website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of St. Bernardus Abt 12 Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,371 | Reviews: 2,498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of konadrinker
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

A- Deep brown/ ruby red with a rich tan head and nice lacing.

S- Complexity with molasses, caramel, orange. An earthy yeast, avg/hvy alcohol with figs.

T- Delicious! Malty sweetness with a touch of bitterness, great balance, depth and complexity. An exceptional beer.

M- Nicely carbonated, creamy and incredibly smooth.

D- Goes down smoothly and hides the high ABV wonderfully. I could easily drink this all night.

Excellent beer. Another must have on hand.

konadrinker, May 31, 2010
Photo of acoatley
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Bueatiful amber wispers of red with a thick silky head..the lace takes a full thirty seconds to roll down the glass.

Aroma: Slight alcohol followed by a mixture of plum and cherry estes pleasant malty sweetness.

Taste: Caramel malty sweet, moderate alcohol lingers pleasently on the palate, pear and plum esters

Mouthfeel: Smothe silkey but finishes crisp

acoatley, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of ndolover
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a: excellent retention and lacing. The beer has a cola color.

s: Plums, and dark fruit. Alcohol and and malt predominate. almost no hop aroma

m: High in cabonation and a medium to full mouthfeel with alcohol dancing on the tongue.

t: Nice belgian malts. Some dark fruit esters with some spice notes.

d: Wonderful example of the beer...almost scary drinkable with such a high alcohol content. I'm at a loss for words at how wonderful this beer is!

ndolover, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of Crosling
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fine looking beer. Pours out a dark brown with a fine vuluptious tan head which at a closer glance seems to have some spices or something hidden in the head! Cool!

The nose was full of alcohol, raisins, plums, honey, dark cherries, other dark fruits, bananas and cloves. A very nice nose!

The flavor is so complex. Massive amounts of dark fruits, apples, sweetness, a little chocolate and as it warmed the alcohol started to come out.

Overall, an incredible beer that is one notch below the Rochefort 10 but I will still drink hundreds of bottles of this beer when I am in Belgium this summer!

Crosling, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of JBStith
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

St Bernadus Abt 12 out of a 750 ml bottle...

A: Brilliant but hazy brown, ruby color. Pours with a volumous off-white head that disappates quick. Maintains a lacing of foam that coats the glass as I consume it.

S: Aromas of malt, wood and earth. Maybe a slight yeasty sourness creeps in as well. No apparent bitterness or hop character (just as it should be).

T: Taste starts off very clean and leads into malt with a slight presence of yeast. Alcohol creeps in at the end, though hidden fairly well, and finishes very warm. Absolutely delicious. All tastes lead to a very balance experience.

M&D: Medium mouthfeel. Malt is not sweet, but more earthy. The alcohol balances out the malt. Highly drinkable, though I'm sure the 10.5 abv will quickly reign me in.

Overall, this is a glorious beer. I cant wait to taste it again over time to see how it ages.

JBStith, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of BeerLover99
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: dark brown, cardinal red shimmer, 1 finger head, delightful lacing

S: deep fig, plum, spices, malt

T: sweet malt, spices, ripe fruit, smooth finish

M: Med/heavy body, solid carbonation

O: What a legendary brew! One of THE best beers I have EVER drank. This is always near the top of my favorite beer lists. The scary thing is this QUAD should be sipped, but you will find yourself gulping it.


BeerLover99, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of coldmeat23
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Dark ruby colored liquid, almost garnet. Three finger head of thick tan colored foam. Excellent retention and thick, clumpy lacing.

Big dark fruits. Cherries, grapes and figs. Hint of booziness. Caramel malts. Hint of spice. Slight yeast presence.

Dark fruits and mulling spices are up front. Plums, cherries and figs. Candi sugars and brown sugar. Slight nuttiness. Mellow yeastiness. Nice undertone of apples. Earthy notes. Very light hops presence.

Good medium body. Nice and creamy. Carbonation level is just right. Very smooth.

This brew is nice and complex, yet super smooth and easy to drink. Though the hops presence is not very big, there is alot of balance in this one. Just be sure to watch out for that 10%ABV, though.

coldmeat23, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of yemenmocha
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mury brown beer, like homemade apple cider. Thin head that faded quickly.

Nose is a complex Christmas spice cake. Ginger, nutmeg, and perhaps some unidentifiable berries too. Brown sugar.

Palate is brown sugary sweet with some cinnamony alcohol heat. Fig newtons. Whole wheat toast. Earthy. Wow.

Finish is tangy/sweet. I keep coming back to brown sugar.

yemenmocha, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of fattychubs
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a deep brown color, with dark amber highlights and a huge fluffy head that wouldn’t go away. Aroma is wine like, with fruits and a hint of spice. Taste starts sweet with a touch of spice, middle is so many tastes at once, ripe fruit, brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, sweet malt. Extremely smooth and rich and finishes crisp.

The finish and the aftertaste are the shining moment of this beer, crisp and sweet, and gives your mouth a wonderful feeling, hard to describe but this is a great beer.

fattychubs, Jul 16, 2003
Photo of ksimons
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-poured into a snifter appears a dark brown with a thin layer of head that leaves some sticky residue on the glass

S-a boozy, malty, fruity scent

T-a sweet, rich malty taste with a boozy finish. The carbonation gives it a spicy kick to finish it out

M-medium carbonation, medium body, and a lot of alcohol warming

D-even though the alcohol is present, you could drink it all day, excellent

ksimons, May 16, 2010
Photo of peensteen
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque brown 3/4" white head sits on top that eventually settles an coats the top of the beer until the end. Brussels lace appears right away. Nose is of sweet yeast, dark fruit, fig and almost a fresh bread presence. Taste of rich dark fruit, plum, raisin, toffee, an almost nutty taste is there, slight alcohol. Good mouthfeel not offensive in any way. Drinks like a dream, very close to perfect.

peensteen, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 6/11/08. Bottle. Pours a murky brown with a super thick tan head. Ah, gorgeous. Aroma of grapes, champagne, raisins, dark fruit. Flavor of sweet dark fruits, Belgian yeast. A well-crafted beer, extremely well-balanced. The palate is superb - creamy, thick mouthfeel, almost as if you were drinking a milkshake. This quad is hard to beat.
9/5/9/5/18 (4.6/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A loud pop upon removing the cork signals a slow gusher that gives me just enough time to begin pouring before the foam escapes the lip of the bottle. It pours with a two finger head of off-white bubbles on top of a clear, reddish brown body. The head settles pretty quickly and leaves thin traces of lace on the glass.

S - A rich aroma of sweet caramel and fruity yeast. Black cherries, figs, sweet chocolate, cloves, and coriander. The fruit notes are full and juicy and work well with the malt.

T - Sugary dark fruit and caramel malt up front. Notes of black cherry, caramel, and toffee. Some spicy notes of clove and cinnamon come out in the middle with milk chocolate malt flavors. Finishes sweet and malty with an emphasis on caramel and dark cherry/plum yeast character. There is just a hint of herbal hop flavor in the finish along with mild bitterness that just barely balances the thick malt. Some darkening of the malt character in the aftertaste with light chocolate and smoke notes.

M - Smooth, moderately thick body, high carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This is a true classic and while there are a great deal of varied flavor elements at work here, the yeast is the real star of the show. The malt provides a background of caramel sweetness on which the yeast displays a profound level of juicy, deep fruit character, balanced by lightly spicy notes. The hops make themselves known but only play a supporting role, though they posses a classic spicy, noble character. This beer is extraordinarily well balanced and despite a high alcohol content, it goes down smooth and shows no boozy harshness. If Rochefort is about malty complexity, then this is about yeasty fruit and sublime balance. It is a wonderful, and rare, experience to have a beer that lives up to its hype and as I sip this I realize that I had gone far too long without popping the cork on an ABT 12.

nickfl, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally got around to giving this a go, as I picked up a bottle of this at Top Hops a few weeks back. I only got the 11.2 oz one since this was so strong and I figured that it would take a while to down. Sure enough, it did...but that's not a bad thing at all. This is so strong, rich, and refined that anything less than a slow savoring of this beer would be a disservice and a way to cheat oneself out of all this has to offer.

Wonderful appearance to the pour, as the radiant dark raisin hue was still thin enough around the edges to show some light through, revealing the sediment that had to be swirled out of this bottle. Nice head to this too as I had to let a lot of it settle before pouring out the last little cloudy portion of the bottle, and the lacing wasn't half bad either. Not as strong an aroma to this as I would have liked, but there was enough candied sugar, plum, and pear to be detected in the nose and in the taste as well. This faded to a well-balanced back that reminded me partially of a fine Belgian Pale Ale crossed with Champagne, since the carbonation came through and carried with it just a hint of earthy, sour funk. The aftertaste kept this lightness with a bit of spicy, dark bread, which melded nicely into the next sip as I repeated the process.

Yes, this was strong but it never tasted it and I could have easily downed a few of these over a given night. There's a reason why beers like this are rated so high - anything balanced this well, smooth, and is strong without being overt is the hallmark of a great brew and this fit that bill. I'm always amazed at how much Belgian beers have to offer and how something like this is so highly rated by so many. Even on a muggy night like tonight, this was refreshing and anyone who reviews beers on here needs to get their hands on this and find out for his or herself why this is one of the classics. Highly recommended.

JerzDevl2000, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this one side-by-side with an '11 Westvleteren XII - thanks to Mike for cracking his open. I've heard from many people that the Abt 12 is the closest (easiest) thing to get to a Westy XII, so I guess we'll see. The pour is certainly a very similar color - brown, copper and murky, maybe a little bit brighter. Unlike the Westy, the Abt 12 has quite a bit of tiny sediment particles. Another big difference is that the head on the Abt 12 is huge, frothy, and has excellent staying power - looks like the froth on top of a latte or something.

Whoof, I close my eyes and take a whiff, and honestly, I could have easily mistaken this for another pour of the Westy. VERY similar in the aroma. Huge complexity and just a never-ending array of components: grapes, figs, dates, candied plums, Belgian yeast and spices, brown sugar, molasses, sweet licorice, light bready malts.... Where does it end? It only gets more inviting and more perplexing as it warms up and introduced some new aromas; pecans, light herbal-ness, more earthy tones, fruity esters, mild booze aromas... So far, I don't think I could draw any "major" distinctions from the aromas between Abt 12 and Westy XII. And this was after having them directly back-to-back. Given only one, I probably couldn't accurately discern which was which from the nose alone.

At this point, I'm incredibly impressed, and I'm thinking about just copying and pasting my Westy XII review and using it as my Abt 12 review. Just kidding. The mouth feel is similar, though Abt 12 has a bit more of a sharpness from heavier carbonation, as evidenced by the superior head formation. They both share that delectable Belgian-esque creaminess and they are both full-bodied without being too heavy, sticky, or syrupy. I love the silky smoothness that most Belgian quads deliver, and these two beers are no exception.

I'm sitting here swishing Abt 12 around in my palate, and I'm almost as amazed as I was when I first tasted the Westy XII - just a huge romp around of seemingly millions of flavors. Candied and sugary fruits, grapes, plums - sweet and pleasing without being overly sugary or cloying. Licorice, toffee, light molasses, Belgian yeast, mild spice, and sweet breadiness from the malt. I can see why people compare this to Westy XII - it's the EXACT SAME THING. In all seriousness, the flavor profiles are eerily similar, but I did notice that the Abt 12 was a little "sharper" and "brighter" - sharper from the carbonation and brighter in the form of softer fruits - I picked up some more definitive apple skin and white grape notes. The Abt 12 also has a touch more of a hop profile, but maybe that's because the Westy XII was a year older? This gave the Abt 12 a bit more bitter leafiness with the bread, butter, and slightly boozy aftertaste.

Wow... Wow, wow, wow. People weren't lying. The Abt 12 really is ridiculously similar to the Westy 12. When all is said and done, I don't think I could tell the difference if I was blindfolded. You could hand me an Abt 12 in a blank glass, tell me it was Westy XII, and I wouldn't be able to argue. That being said, they are both fantastic beers - pinnacles in brewing, and quintessential beers for the style they both represent. At the end of the day, I must give a slight nudge to the Abt 12 though, given it's relatively low price point and incredible availability.

tectactoe, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of Todd
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured into an appropriate chalice at 't Brugs Beertje in Brugs, Belgium.

Appearance: Dark brown in colour with a sticky creamy off-white head.

Smell: Rich, malty aroma.

Taste: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Rich and malty with a semi-grape sweetness that mingles in with some dark ripe fruity esters. The alcohol is very apparent, warming as hell!

Notes: Sheer bliss. Viewed as an abbey beer. According to Daisy (owner of 't Brugs Beertje), this beer follows the same recipe, uses the same water and its hops comes from the same hop regions as Westvleteren. "Abt" means the "highest rank." They also make a "Prior" at about half the strength.

Todd, Oct 14, 2001
Photo of wolf323i
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured on draft with a good bit of off white head. Overall appearance is excellent. Served in a tulip a nice dark brown that you can get just the smallest amount of light through.

Not completely overwhelmed by the nose hear. Hits all the notes though. Ie. spice, alcohol, and Belgian yeast.

Amazing flavor and not my favorite style. Smooth velvety feel with a decent bit of sweetness a good strong bit of alcohol on the nose and a clean finish.

A truly word class beer.

wolf323i, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%

A nose of rich, dark dried fruits and chewy figs and dates. Smooth and complex, the taste is moist dried cherries, plums, and raisins balanced against rich malts and a touch of sugar. Yeasty and well-carbonated, with plenty of sediment that needs a gentle rolling before opening. The ABV is completely hidden within the beer. Dark and delicious.

BuckeyeSlim, Monday at 05:30 AM
Photo of Billolick
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap, (gotta love the Blind Tiger!) This gem poured dark brown, and murky. minimal head, but leaves well developed lacing. Multiple layers of flavor going on here, fruity, malty, yeasty. complex and intriguing, warrming but not overpowering in strength, body or flavor. the genius here is that its so drinkable. seek out savor and enjoy.

Billolick, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of SetarconeX
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Near as I can tell, this is something of the flagship of the St. Bernardus brand, and for good reason. This is the fourth of their beers I've tried, and it is clearly the best, which is saying something because the others were pretty near to perfect.

Very deep reddish brown color, with a hefty froth up top. Tastes exactly the same way it smells, only even more so. Aroma and taste of malt, raisins, chocolate, nutmeg, cane sugar....in short, a lot of different flavors.

If, as Ben Franklin claimed, beer was proof that God loves us and wants to be happy, than this is him showing us how good beer can be. Here's to hoping for a long happy life of preaching to the monk on the label!

SetarconeX, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of GilGarp
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Choice City in Fort Collins.

Served cold in the proper glassware from St. Bernardus. It's very dark brown with redish highlights around the edges. Very little head on top but nice lacing is left behind on the glass.

Aroma is complex and sweet with really nice fruity esters and belgian yeast.

Flavor is excellent as it was from the bottle. Complexities from the yeast and the sweet caramel and figs from the malts. Very mild hopping but extremely well balanced.

Mouthfeel is much different and, for my tastes, much better on tap. The carbonation is subtle and the body is full and smooth. Easier drinking than the bottled version which had considerably more effervescence.

Overall excellent but I wish I had been more patient waiting for it to warm. That's when the flavors really come out.

GilGarp, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date of 26 08 10. Pours burgundy/chestnut (a hazy red when held to the light) with 2+ fingers of pillowy tan colored head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Fruitty & bready with hints of chocolate

T: Fruitty, cakey with hints of plum liquor up front. Raisins & chocolate follow. Oaky dryness, leather and a hint of fruitcake settle in as this warms. Earthy grainyness and hops are there as well. Cinamon, apple pie, warming boozeyness. a tinge of tobacco, figs, dates, bitterness & dryness all show up in the finish. Super complex & satisfying

MF: Medium/heavy bodied, vinous & slightly carbonated

Drinks too easy. I believe this would shine with beef or Christmas pudding. At $3 for a 300ml bottle, a steal!

russpowell, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of HalfFull
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw this at Point Loma Wine Steals and took the bait, been curious for too long. Poured slowly into a large wine glass this concoction pours a deep mahogany red with a very steady off white head. Some yeast inevitably found its way into the glass as I'm not sure how this had been stored. Drink by the 21st day of the 12th month of the 12th year. Hmmm! Lots of '12' going on here. Halfway through a surface film remained and continued to contribute to an artsy lacing.

Smell is sweet with raisin and fig and a touch of fresh dark cherry. Can one get intoxicated by smelling a beer?

Taste is rather complex and inviting. Dried fruits give way to a cherry flavor which then turns over to offer a bit of chocolate on a lingering finish, and only then reveals a bit of alcohol.

Feel is exquisite, with a carbonation that matches the flavor pretty precisely. This beer is strong and sweet, yet doesn't really come across to be either. A remarkable feat.

HalfFull, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of CookstLiquor
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle. We tasted this right around the release of Westy 12 and were very impressed. It pours a slightly cloudy orangey-brown colour with plenty of hefty head.The nose is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this quad: It's spicy and herbal with sweet notes of licorice and white pepper. On the palate it's equally complex with a big mouth-filling carbonation and notes of fruit, spice, mint and herbs. There's a nice warming booziness as well.

CookstLiquor, Dec 27, 2012
Photo of huhl23
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a DFH snifter.

A deep brown, hazy brew with a great head that lasted and excellent lacing.

You could really smell the fruits, plums and raisins seemed to stand out most. A spicy malt backbone, yeast and alcohol rounded out what is a really nice smelling brew.

Tasted of spices, notably cloves and pepper, a pinch of anise, plenty of sweet molasses and brown sugar, dark fruits, and yeast. The alcohol was not as well masked as some quads and was evident in the flavor.

Mouthfeel was rich, full bodied, slick, with fairly tangy carbonation for a quad and a powerful alcohol warming. Liked this one a bit better than the Rochefort 10 which are the only two quad's I've ever had. Great beer.

huhl23, Jul 20, 2011
St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
99 out of 100 based on 7,371 ratings.